Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Near Threatened

New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae)


French: Carpophage de Nouvelle-Zélande German: Maorifruchttaube Spanish: Paloma maorí
Other common names: Kereru

Columba novæ Seelandiæ

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

South Island, New Zealand


Traditionally considered conspecific with H. chathamensis but differs in its blue-green vs grey rump and primary wing-coverts (3); glossy dark green vs matt blackish-grey crown, throat, breast and neck-sides (3); maroon carpal area (2); whitish vs dark green undertail-coverts (ns[2]); paler tail (ns[1]); more slender bill (not measured, but estimated at 2); also modest genetic divergence#R. Extinct Norfolk I race †spadicea (earlier name argetraea has been suppressed#R#R) was morphologically and genetically#R close to extant nominate form. One extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. n. spadicea (Latham, 1801) – Norfolk I.
  • H. n. novaeseelandiae (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – New Zealand, including larger offshore islands.
  • Descriptive notes

    46–50 cm; 510–795 g; wingspan c. 75 cm. Large, brightly coloured fruit pigeon; most of upperparts iridescent dark green, with purple and bronzy highlights on... read more


    Not very vocal. Makes occasional, soft but penetrating “ooo” sounds when feeding or resting, louder... read more


    Prefers to feed in mixed podocarp-broadleaf forests, with complex structure and high plant... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily frugivorous, favouring ripe fruits; also feeds on leaves, shoots, flowers, buds, nectar and sap. Wide variety of plants exploited... read more


    Eggs in all months, but mostly Nov–Mar; of 45 nests at locality on South I, most nests Nov–Mar, once in Jun, with peak laying... read more


    Sedentary, but with significant local movements; in a radio-tracking study of 54 birds, maximum... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Not considered threatened by New Zealand authorities. Densities in lowland forests typically 0·1–2... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).